An actinic keratosis (AK) is a scaly, crusty, rough lesion that grows on the skin in areas frequently exposed to the sun. An AK may appear on the face, scalp, neck, back, shoulders, forearms, or other parts of the body. Typically, the affected areas will have more than one lesion (keratoses). These lesions grow slowly over time and most commonly present in patients over the age of 40. Seasoned dermatologist Dr. Jay Mehta at Arizona Skin Institute is highly trained in diagnosing and treating actinic keratoses. Since actinic keratosis can become cancerous, it’s important to seek treatment right away. Removal of the lesion(s) will most likely be discussed and recommended during your initial skin exam. If you live in Surprise or Phoenix, AZ, contact our office today to schedule a comprehensive skin consultation.


When an AK first appears, it will look like a crusty or dry patch of skin or feel like a rough spot on the upper layer of the dermis. Another common symptom of actinic keratosis is itchiness. As time passes, the patchy area may turn red, dark brown, or white and become raised. If left untreated, the chances of an AK developing into cancer increases. For this reason, any warning signs must be checked as soon as possible by a skincare professional so that you can access the essential treatment you need.


Prompt treatment is important so that an isolated actinic keratosis (or keratoses) does not become cancerous. Treatment will vary based on several factors, including your age, medical history, how prevalent the condition is, growth characteristics of the lesion(s), location, and more. The most common treatments for actinic keratosis include:

Cryosurgery: using liquid nitrogen to remove lesions

Electrodesiccation & Curettage: a procedure that removes skin lesions by scraping the skin down to a healthy layer

Prescription Medications: certain drugs can be useful in decreasing the look and size of lesions and reducing the incidence of scarring

Chemical peels: ingredients used in chemical peels can eliminate the top layer of the affected skin, thereby helping to stimulate new growth and replacing the damaged tissues


If you have a suspicious or rough patch of skin on your body, contact Arizona Skin Institute in Surprise, AZ near Phoenix today. Our caring team will be happy to assess your concerns and review all of your treatment options to help you achieve and maintain healthy, long-term results. Although actinic keratosis may appear harmless, it should be treated right away to prevent skin cancer from developing.